Sammy Watkins appeared to get out of bounds, clock didn’t stop
On what turned out to be a terrible night of NFL officiating on Monday, the New England Patriots weren’t the only ones who fell victim to an inexplicable call.
With just seconds remaining and the Buffalo Bills trying to pull off a miracle while trailing 20-13, Sammy Watkins caught a pass at the Buffalo 48-yard line and appeared to duck out of bounds in time to stop the clock for one last play. But the head linesman chose to wind the clock and the game ended.
It certainly seemed like Watkins got out of bounds.
— Derek ひ (@DHawk_19) November 24, 2015
After the game, referee Gene Steratore explained that the head linesman ruled that Watkins had “given himself up” in the field of play, hence why the clock kept running.
“What we had as far as the last play with Buffalo’s reception was that the receiver gave himself up voluntarily in the field of play,” he said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “When that occurs and we deem that the runner, which he would have been after he maintained possession after his reception, he was now a runner, had given himself up in the field of play. Then [the] fact that he scoots out of bounds is not as important. We wound the clock. It was a judgment call by that head linesman that he felt like he gave himself up in the field of play. It’s not a reviewable play. So winding the clock or stopping the clock is not something we review. So, in his judgment, he deemed that the runner gave himself up in the field of play voluntarily, which does put him down by contact in the field, so he wound [the clock].”
If the play was a judgment call by the official, why on earth would anyone who knows anything about football deem that a receiver voluntarily gave himself up in bounds with two seconds remaining? That makes no sense, as one former NFL official noted.
If a player is trying to get out of bounds and goes sideways., backwards or forward at that point in game….you stop the clock!
— Jim Daopoulos (@RefereeJimD) November 24, 2015
Perhaps the official wanted to make sure the Patriots won after the disaster that happened earlier in the game on this Danny Amendola catch. Overall, this was not a banner night for the NFL.